Cover photo for Harry Mark Gilbert's Obituary
Harry Mark Gilbert Profile Photo

Harry Mark Gilbert

April 20, 1947 — March 8, 2021

Harry Mark Gilbert

Harry Mark Gilbert of Indian Lake in Vicksburg, MI passed away on March 8, 2021 at Bronson Methodist Hospital due to complications from pulmonary fibrosis and chronic heart failure at the age of 73. He was born on April 20, 1947 in Kalamazoo, MI the son of Dorothy G. Gilbert (née Galbreath) and Truman J. Gilbert. Following his graduation from Loy Norrix High School, Harry attended Western Michigan University on a full scholarship in vocal performance. After several semesters, he switched his major to linguistics and transferred to the University of Michigan, where he obtained a BA. After college, Harry taught himself computer programming, eventually rising to the top of his field. In Utah, he worked as a contractor for the CIA, developing software for spy satellites. Later, he became the Director of Telecommunications at SUNY Albany. Around 1978, he was recruited by NBC to manage their telecommunication networks. In 1980, Harry moved to CA, where he reunited with old love Pat Lyman (from UM days). They were married on July 11, 1981 in Vicksburg, MI. They remained in CA for several years, where Harry built a successful consulting practice developing software for Apple and Verbatim, among others. In 1984, Harry and Pat - with Elizabeth and 1-month-old Julia in tow - relocated from California to their hometown of Kalamazoo. Harry ultimately settled into a long-term job as a software architect/engineer with SPX (now Bosch), where he was awarded patents for many of the software tools he developed. Wherever Harry worked, he was promoted into management, but he hated it: He loved the creativity of writing software. Harry’s loves were his family, music, and languages. He was a software architect/engineer by trade, but considered software a form of communication - a language. He was fluent in French, German and Dutch, and picked up languages easily. In his last decade, he studied Mandarin for fun. Harry was a gifted musician. He could light up his guitar with just about any tune someone wanted to sing along to. He could hear a song once and remember all the words. This gave Harry a seemingly endless repertoire that was well-loved at many music parties and events. Some of the family’s fondest memories of him are playing the guitar for sing-alongs around the campfire down by the lake, or of playing his guitar in the living room as the family sang along or jumped in with other instruments. Up until the week of his passing, he had weekly guitar jam sessions with his good friend Pat Benton. Harry played the guitar every day of his life when he could, even up until his trip to the hospital the day before he died. Harry was the record keeper for the family. In his retirement, he spent time transferring VHS home-movies to MP4s, and Photoshopping and organizing family photos. The extent of the collection of family videos Harry turned to MP4s was not completely realized until after his passing, and it is an amazing gift he left behind. Harry’s biggest accomplishment by far was being an amazing, attentive, supportive, and thoughtful father. Left to cherish his loving memory are his wife of 39 years: Pat Lyman; children: Elizabeth (Tyler), Julia (Nick), and Jud; siblings: Walter (Betty), Gene (Rita), numerous nieces and nephews and families, and Brittany (Boris) Meda, a family friend since childhood who was like a daughter to him. He is preceded in his passing by his siblings: Judson and Mary Ellen. In accordance with Harry’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a memorial (that he requested be a party to celebrate his life), where music and memories will be shared, will be held in the summer - or whenever it is safe to gather. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Great Lakes Acoustic Music Association, GLAMA, P.O. Box 50781, Kalamazoo, MI 49005, https://greatlakesacoustic.org/support-glama/, or; to the Dormouse Theatre Productions, 1030 Portage St, Kalamazoo, MI 49001, venmo to: username @dormousetheatre, under the “Business” tab. While visiting Harry’s tribute page please take a moment to light a candle or share a memory with the family. The Gilbert family is being assisted by McCowen and Secord Family Funeral Homes Rupert-Durham Chapel, 409 S. Main Street, Vicksburg, MI 49097. 269-649-1697.
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